Ferguson demanded $1.5M on 'extorted' deal, witness says

Bobby Ferguson

Contractor Bobby Ferguson demanded a $1.5 million piece of a sewer deal allegedly steered to his firm by pal Kwame Kilpatrick, a businesswoman testified Friday.

Former Soave Enterprises executive Kathleen McCann testified about the demand after Kilpatrick allegedly forced the company to hire Ferguson as a minority subcontractor on a $50 million sewer deal in spring 2002.

She corroborated earlier testimony that Kilpatrick held up a $50 million sewer deal until tycoon Tony Soave’s firm hired Ferguson.

“Why didn’t you tell him ‘we’re going to find somebody else?'” Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow asked McCann.

“We were essentially in a forced marriage,” McCann said.

“Who was forcing you to be in the forced marriage?” Chutkow asked.

“Mr. Ferguson’s company was chosen by Mayor Kilpatrick as our subcontractor,” McCann said.

Robert Snell

Robert Snell is the Detroit News federal courts reporter. He can be reached at rsnell@detnews.com or (313) 222-2028.